Kingsholm coaching team will present early findings
EUROPEAN action might start tonight, but Nigel Davies and his coaches are already plotting Gloucester's next Premiership push.
Each Gloucester coach will make a presentation on the Cherry and Whites' six opening league fixtures, rugby director Davies included.
The coaches will hold the presentations among themselves, before later passing on their findings to the Kingsholm club's players.
Boss Davies said this is the perfect time to review early-season performance – to help the Cherry and Whites fast-track their development.
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Gloucester might face two weeks of Amlin Challenge Cup action, starting at Mont de Marsan tonight, but Davies is keen to ensure both coaches and players heed the lessons of their first six league matches.
The Cherry and Whites host Bordeaux a week today, but then face a testing Premiership fortnight taking on Leicester and Harlequins.
Running the rule over the season's start, Davies explained: "I've asked all the coaches to make presentations, looking at their individual areas and how they think things have gone in the first six-week block.
"I've asked them to look at what we targeted, what we've achieved, where we've fallen short, what has happened that was different from what we anticipated – and where we go next.
"So it's about driving the coaching staff – including me – forward, as much as the players.
"We've got some rugby behind us to do that now, and I think that's very appropriate timing.
"Part of the reason for keeping that within the coaches first, is that we critique it, as a group, and decide where we take it forward from there amongst ourselves.
"So that way then we'll have collective knowledge and ideas, and to present it to the team.
"And we will look to use that to kick on in the next section of Premiership matches."
All this behind-the-scenes planning does not detract from tonight's testing contest at Stade Guy Boniface (kick-off 7.30pm UK time).
And former Llanelli Scarlets boss Davies has warned his players that even the tiniest lapse in concentration could prove costly.
Calling on his side to drag the game in the direction of the breakdown rather than into a kicking duel, Davies has asked Gloucester to control the tight exchanges.
He continued: "Every French side can pull themselves into pretty much any contest at any point.
"They'll be huge, they'll be massive, and if we switch off for a minute they will hurt us.
"But we'll back ourselves on our conditioning to be better than theirs, that's a big area that we've worked on.
"And we've got to be prepared to play them on the ground, they're big men, so we've got to get them on the ground and fight them on the ground rather than up in the air."